Sunday, 26 June 2011

Religion: Of Foxholes

I just came across a wonderful quote by Kurt Vonnegut...
They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and this is a good argument against atheism. I think it's a better argument against foxholes.
It got me thinking. The argument Kurt so brilliantly smashes here seems to be that the existence of a god is proven by the fact that people in most horrible circumstances, when their options are non-existent or at least seriously limited, tend to wish for a "divine intervention", a deus ex machina, if you want.

It strikes me that this argument is essentially the same as the one never wielded by religionistas, and that is that the existence of lotteries is an argument against atheism, because surely a lot of people are watching their one in thirteen million weekly draw calling upon the almighty to get them out of the misery of their everyday hand-to-mouth lives. Even in UK where atheists outnumber religionistas. Unless, of course, it is only the religious who play Lottery. For which I am the counter-example.

Since even religionistas think it obviously silly to present the lottery argument in order to prove existence of their chosen god(s) I can only wholeheartedly recommend they also drop the foxhole equivalent. And while they're at it, they should also all do much, much more work on the second part of Kurt's admonishment, to wit, making it possible that foxholes (and their equivalents) are well and truly abolished and relegated to the dark past of human history.

Sadly, with religions' track record on wars, this is unlikely...